Identifying and Dealing with Negative People

Other people’s negativity needn’t slow you down if you bear in mind that their views are only part of the picture. The faults or obstacles they point out might be real, because nothing’s perfect. The difference lies in whether you know there’s enough that’s positive and worthwhile about what you’re doing to outweigh any negatives they present.

Negativity is a symptom of depression, and this is always something consider. But even non-depressed people can adopt a negative view if they worry that being too positive will lead to carelessness, insensitivity or disappointment. Belbin’s description of group dynamics has a character know as “the black hat”. This is the individual who always seems to take the critical or pessimistic view. They are nevertheless a valuable member of the team because they serve as an early warning system. Their input tells you what might need to be included or prepared for, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor about whether or not to go ahead.

Realistically, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to completely avoid negative people, but you can keep their pessimism from rubbing off on you. The part of a negative person’s view to distance yourself from isn’t what they’ve observed, it’s the importance they give to it. Don’t be drawn into their beliefs that something’s no good unless it’s perfect and problems must be prevented at all costs. Unlike the negative person, you can remind yourself that perfection is rarely necessary – or even possible- and problems can be overcome.